Hiding in Plain Sight

engagement, advice

Back at it again with the proposal shoots!

On the eve of New Year's Eve 2019, I was asked to help with a product branding shoot. It was the usual fun things I love to do: Photos and video. It was a last minute, day-of call so I didn't have time to prepare with the usual grand ideas with an absurd amount of planning that would go out the window at the last minute. This time, it was go out and shoot blind situation. It happens every now and then so I always like to expect the unexpected when it comes to last minute shoots. The only thing different about this shoot was it happened to be a real engagement that would happen during the branding shoot!

Collabing for the win!

Fancy Picnics, Savannah's Treats, and Surprise Cakes invited me out to shoot that day. It was really exciting to know they thought of my services for this special occassion. I brought fuchsia, one of my interns, in order to cover it with me to ensure that everything was covered with multiple angles. We work well together because she takes direction really well. Unfortunately, she was basically on her own for this one after our quick pre-event meeting but she did really well as she went with the flow of the shoot.

Working with other brands is something I love doing, especially local small businesses. Smaller businesses provide a more personal experience because the people are right there with you. When you make a connection with a small business, you are working with someone who is personally invested in the relationship and connection. You're working with someone who is devoting themselves to you and your project. When you find the right connection, you'll be glad you found them.

About the team:

Fancy Picnics: Fancy Picnics is a company out of Houston that arranges and creates intricate picnic set-ups for all kinds of occassions. They have beautiful colors and backgrounds that are perfectly arranged. Benda is so amazingly creative and each of the set-ups are so cute! You can check out their instagram here!

Savannah's Treats: Another local Houston vendor, Yohanna is the creative brain behind Savannah's Treats. Named after her oldest daughter, a sweetheart, Savannah's Treats creates various types of cake, cookies, cake pops, and more in the order. Speaking from firsthand experience, there's something about the treats that hits just right. You can check out their instagram here!

Waiting for the big moment

Getting to the shoot took about a mile of walking because I'm the directionally challenged driver that passed the parking area 3 times while driving to the shoot. It was a gorgeous walk and I met 2 dogs on the way. Walking a busy city park trail in the afternoon of a Houston afternoon day was perfectly gorgeous.

On the day of the shoot, I decided to bring my intern with me as a second shooter. It was a great experience for her to work on her portraits as well. Any time I'm able to bring someone out to shoot with me, it's always going to be a learning experience because there's so much growth that can happen at any moment of the day!

Once we met with the creative team and got settled waiting with the family, we ended up waiting for 30 minutes for something to happen. It was absolute torture to wait because we were so excited to see something happening. There was something special that was going to happen and I just couldn't wait. My intern was also full of excitement and standing around with the family wasn't helping.

The Big moment

After about an hour of letting them arrive, get comfortable, and waiting for Noah to pop the question, we finally got our answer! As we crept out from behind the dense forest of trees (if that's what you want to call a bunch of trees strategically set up in the middle of the city), we watched in slow motion as he stood up, pulled the box out of his pocket, and asked the magical question.


With tears in her eyes and a vibrant smile on her face, you could see the wonder and complete shock in her expression. Those kinds of proposals, the ones where you know they didn't see it coming, are the ones that turn out the best on camera because you see the flood of emotion overcoming them all at once. It's a special moment where they can't decide what to feel and it just keeps rolling through. When they don't see it coming, they don't expect to respond a certain way.

Jade's tips for shooting a proposal:

  1. Get there early. If something is running behind, great! If it's running ahead of time, you want to be there to know about every little change.
  2. Stay hidden. Sometimes, this isn't necessary since public spaces have photographers all over it but in cases where the space is more private, the element of surprise is always best. Stay hidden for everyone's best interest and don't move once you find a good spot.
  3. Have your settings ready. When you get there early, you also get to see what changes you need to make in order to get the best quality images. You don't want to miss anything by adjusting settings in the middle of something special. You can't stage those genuine moments.
  4. Pay Attention. Don't get distracted or caught up in the moment because a lot will be happening at once. It's overwhelming and can happen on a whim so you want to know what's going on around you at all times. If you bring a second shooter, it's easier to work the situation because you won't have to have eyes in the back, right, and left sides of your head. All you have to do is pay attention ahead of you with your head on a swivel while the other shooter has their head on a similar swivel in the other direction.
  5. Relax! There's no reason to be completely stressed about everything going on. You deserve to see the situation for what it is: A joyous occasion worth capturing! You get to capture the start of something new!